Can’t face it
Women’s head coverings remain a highly contentious issue in many parts of the world, with multiple countries banning hijabs and other Islamic cover-ups. On planet fashion, however, they are all the rage – particularly balaclavas and full face masks, which are having a major moment on the runway and TikTok. This has sparked criticism in some quarters of unfair double standards.
In February, Vogue France copped a backlash after posting a photo of American actor Julia Fox wearing a head scarf at the Paris haute couture shows, complete with the caption “Yes to to the headscarf!”, along with a photo of Fox’s then love interest Kanye West in a black ski mask with slits for eyes – the latter in contravention of France’s 11 year-old legislation that bans full face-coverings in public spaces, including balaclavas. French lawmakers are currently mooting a bill to ban hijabs in competitive sports (after passing legislation in 2004 to have all visible religious symbols, including the hijab, banned from all French public schools and an unsuccessful 2021 attempt to ban hijabs in public spaces on anyone under under the age of 18 )
Then at New York Fashion Week, supermodel Bella Hadid (who is half Palestinian) posted a series of Instagram posts featuring images of hijabi-wearing women and various news stories about hijab bans in France, India and Canada. This appeared to be in direct response to fan commentary made about the hijab controversy on her Instagram post from the previous day, in which she had thanked Proenza Schouler for their “beautiful” Fall 2022 show and showed images of herself dressed in her look for the show, which included a black hooded sweater, with the hood pulled up over her head. “Although different forms of the hijab and head coverings are starting to make an appearance in fashion, let’s still remember the daily struggle, abuse and discrimination Muslim women face on a regular basis because of their faith and what they stand for” she said in one caption.
A longstanding signature of Martin Margiela, full face masks have more recently been co-opted as a styling idea by a plethora of labels, including Richard Quinn and Vetements. In September, after Kim Kardashian appeared on the Met Gala red carpet in head-to-toe black Balenciaga, complete with a full face covering, global fashion search engine Lyst reported a 62 percent spike in searches for balaclavas over the following 48 hours.
School of frock
A COMMON COMPLAINT from students and graduates of the fashion education system is that courses rarely cover the commercial realities of the business or offer industry experience.
Bryce McIntosh is on a mission to help change that. Having worked in fashion education for the past nine years, he will open the doors to his new school, National Fashion College (NFC), on February 28 to students looking to complete a one-year (unaccredited) Advanced Certificate of Fashion. Comprised of four 10-week terms, the course is available on campus ($7995) in Sydney’s St Peters or online ($5995), and will offer components on communications, creative direction, retail management, and business management. Students are also offered opportunities to undertake on workplace training positions that are suited to their schedules.
“I think it’s very old fashioned to think you have to go to an accredited college for an amazing learning environment,” says McIntosh. “You can go to uni and spend X amount of money, but good luck getting an internship. You can go to these career expos, but there’s really so much more out there, and that’s where I’m breaking down this barrier.”
As a testament to 30-year-old McIntosh’s reputation within the industry, before the school even opened, the NFC website already featured more than 20 glowing testimonials from industry heavyweights, including representatives of IMG, Afterpay, Netflix, Parlour X, Bulgari and The Iconic, as well as from brands such as Romance Was Born, Bassike and Seafolly.
In his nine years working at The Fashion Institute, McIntosh was instrumental in facilitating work experience for students at Australian magazines and companies including Hermès, Camilla, David Jones, Myer and The Iconic, and at fashion week events. In September, McIntosh plans to take 20 NFC students to New York for two weeks of workplace training in and around the New York spring/summer 2023 shows.
The art of fashion
This year is shaping up to be a big year for fashion exhibitions, with Paris kicking things off on January 29 with its mega Yves Saint Laurent 60th anniversary retrospective, which runs across six Paris museums, including the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre and the Musée d’Orsay (until May 15.) March, in particular, sees some impressive displays across the globe.
Also in the City of Light, Piinpi is the first major survey of contemporary Australian Indigenous fashion. It began at Bendigo Art Gallery in Victoria, travelled to the Australian Museum, and will be on display at the Australian Embassy in Paris until April. From March 5 to July 10, garments from Paris Fashion Week’s Alber Elbaz tribute show, Love Brings Love, which was produced by the designer’s fashion start-up, AZ Factory, and 45 other fashion houses, will be on display at the Palais Galliera.
Over in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Fashion Masculinities: The Art of Menswear, from March 9 to November 6, charts what the museum describes as “a moment of unprecedented creativity in men’s fashion and reflection on gender”. It features Harris Reed, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Comme des Garçons, Raf Simons and Craig Green.
In New York, the Museum of Arts and Design will present Garmenting: Costume as Contemporary Art (left) from March 12 to August 14. It’s the first major global survey of the artistic strategy of garmenting — or the use of clothing as visual art and a medium for activism.
In the mag
“Do you still buy magazines?” That was the question scribbled on a Balmain pre-fall 2022 tote bag. The brand’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, still does. In a recent interview, he said he is now more of a print collector than an avid reader: “Before, it was about discovering things. You were buying magazines like you were watching Instagram.” If you’re reading this, Rousteing, you can subscribe at buy.harpersbazaar.com.au.
A moment of reflection
Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci of the Melbourne brand Strateas Carlucci will celebrate their 10th anniversary this year. To celebrate, they’re kicking off the year with a show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival on March 5, revisiting some of their archival pieces and also showcasing the new leathergoods and jewellery lines. It will be a full-circle moment for the duo, who earned plaudits for their dark, androgynous tailoring from the get-go, taking home the festival’s coveted National Designer Award in 2014.
Haute and Sweaty
Athluxury is gaining momentum thanks to a recent flurry of high-fashion brands launching sportswear ranges and activations, including Ermenegildo Zegna’s Outdoor capsule collection, Roland Mouret Body, HermèsFit, and Dior Vibe. Philipp Plein will relaunch the Plein Sport line at Milan Fashion Week in February, with pieces available to buy from April.
It’s a wash
Australian botanical beauty company Leif Products has teamed up with Sydney fashion label Jac+ Jack on two laundry products, available from March 1. The Everyday Laundry Wash and the gentle, pH-neutral Delicates & Cashmere Wash are formulated with pure essential oils and no artificial fragrances. Non-toxic, biodegradable, vegan and made in Australia, the products also boast chic, minimalist recyclable packaging.
Brace yourself for the first Metaverse Fashion Week. Produced by Decentraland, a blockchain- powered virtual world; UNXD, a curated marketplace for luxury NFTs; and the Metaverse Group, a virtual real estate company, you can expect virtual towers, fashion tents, runways, avatar models, pop-up shops and afterparties.
From March 24-27; decentraland.org
This story appears in the March issue of Harper’s BAZAAR Australia/New Zealand, available for delivery here.